friend's dog bit

julie_vaJune 30, 2008

This is a wordy story and I am going to try my best to keep it short.

I have a friend who has an American Bull. She is very cautious of him, keeping him away from people as needed, been through training, leashed, etc.

Last fall she had a get together at her home. A couple who was there (and were a bit drunk) wanted to see him. The dog was restrained while visiting, things went well. The dog relaxed and was allowed to go free, at the couples suggestion, after seeng how he was.

My friend went into the kitchen to prepare meal. The couple went outside, without my friend's knowledge and came back in, the dog jumped up and bit the wife on the arm. If my friend knew this, the dog would have been held while they came back in. The couple said not to worry, they had a bull in the past and understood the behavior, (and actually had to put it down because of biting) and it was their fault for not letting them know they were coming in. I think he did break the skin.

Fast forward to 2 weeks ago. My friend was walking the dog. She is now pregnant and the dog is very protective of her. She is also taking care of her parents Boston Bull as her father is undergoing treatment for cancer.

She passed by the above couple's house, not expecting them to be home. (She has avoided them since, when she has had the dog with her) The husband was outside. They exchanged pleasantries, and he approached the dog. Dog bit him. It all happened so fast she had no time to react to hold him back, or anything. He did not break the skin, there was a scratch and a bruise.

He again, said it was he fault, he didn't think, etc.

Several days later, he tells my friend's hubby that either they get rid of the dog, or he will, either way, the dog is history.

My friend talks to the wife who reassures her the husband is just blowing smoke and not to worry. They now have a dangerous dog hearing for Aug. and the dog is under quarantine and wears a muzzle. They are getting a lawyer.

I know this has nothing to do with the 'price of tea', however he is known for enjoying the drink and going through their quiet neighborhood making lots of noise and making a spectacle of himself. It's as though, it's become a power trip. Why did he wait so long? Why didn't he do something to begin with? Why the flip flop?

My friend has done everything to take precautions and feels like these people have set her up by their, careless actions, especially knowing.

Do any of you have any advice?

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Yikes! Has your friend lawyer-ed up as well??? What does her lawyer say? Is the husband sueing them for the dog bites? What is he trying to accomplish?

What scares me, is now your friend is pregnant. Does she really want a potentially aggressive dog around her baby? I know, I know, I HATE it when people get rid of their dogs when they have children, but if the dog is aggressive, I would be worried. This is not your basic goofy lab, it's an American Bulldog. Does the dog have to wear the muzzle all the time? That seems pretty cruel.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 10:31AM
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My experience with American Bulldogs leads me to say that your friend doesn't have control of this dog.

You cannot blame these bites on anyone except the dog's owner. (You inferred that somehow because of these people's carelessness, they deserved to get bit? Totally unacceptable opinion, especially in a court of law, if it ever were to get that far.)

And your friend may never get control, so she should muzzle this dog until she does.

And frankly, if the dog bites again, she should put it down. A muzzle could prevent that...

I would not let an American Bulldog with a history of biting, around my newborn baby. How about you?

BTW, my neighbor had an American Bulldog. He couldn't get control of it either. Over the course of three years, it bit two of my dogs, requiring vet care, destroyed the neighbors min. poodle, bit two people that I knew, and was kicked out of two different obedience classes for aggressive behavior. The dog had several opportunities where he attempted to bite me or my hubs, but we had taken to carrying rakes and shovels around with us in the neighborhood to protect us from him. We were going through the legal process of having the dog declared "viscous and dangerous", when the dog ended up hanging himself on his own leash. I really felt bad for the dog, through the entire ordeal.

Strange thing about this dog was that he was friendly to your face. If you were facing him, he would sit and you could pet him and he was very cute. But the minute you turned around, he would bite your rear or thigh. He wouldn't alarm bark either. He would sneak up on you from behind and attempt to bite you.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 11:40AM
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It sounds to me as though this situation is out of control, has been for some time, and is now starting to get really nasty. The really pitiful thing is, it's not the dogs fault (never is) it's the fault of the humans in charge (lots of people really miss this one).

That said. I have been bitten, on the face. I knew the dog very well, it's a long story how it happened. The experience left me with a scar, and education about how the process goes after the event happens. It IS NOT a pleasant one for anyone involved.


    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 3:18PM
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They exchanged pleasantries, and he approached the dog. Dog bit him. He again, said it was he fault, he didn't think, etc.

Is there something missing in this story? I don't really care if the guy is crackhead, let alone a drinker, it doesn't seem him provoked the dog by walking up or entering a house he had just been in seconds ago. Not really seeing how this is the fault of the dog bite victims.

My advise would be to destroy the dog.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 3:32PM
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This sounds like a very sad case. The dog is clearly dangerous if it has bitten twice; and as others have said, I would surely not want it around a baby. Sure dogs can have dislike of certain people, but it's an owners responsibility to control the behavior of the dog- even if that means muzzling a dog in public; you just can't take chances. Clearly your friend knew this dog has issues with people beyond this couple, since the dog is quartered off during social events.

In my county, a dog does not have to bite to be confiscated and destroyed by the county. A dog only has to prove that it has aggressive tendencies and animal control will start looking into it. This came on the heels of a rash of pitbull attacks, more than one of which ended with the death of a human.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 4:30PM
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I had a guard dog---Lab/chow mix---that bit teenagers on four different occasions. Every bite was through the chain link fence and observed by a neighbor. The police were called in every case. The dog was licensed, had all required shots and contained within the fence.

The reason for the bites----as stated by the witnesses---was that the kids were teasing the dog.

One parent filed a complaint, which was her right. The other three sets of parents said the bite was punishment for teasing the dog and would not file a complaint.

The police would not take the dog for quarantine due to the provocation and the legal status of the dog.

However, city regulations stated that even a legal dog could not have three instances of biting. The third complaint would result in the seizure of the dog and it would be euthanized.

That meant I could no longer let the dog outside without supervision---it was ultimately my responsibility to control the dog----even when people trespassed and got bit.

BTW, that dog lived another 8 years(was seven during that year of incidents) with no more bites. And two of the kids he bit later came to the house for meetings about a skate park----and petted the dog after being properly introduced.

Point is this----anyone who owns a dog is ultimately responsible for the dogs actions. Dogs give some kind of warning before biting---many times people fail to see that warning. The dog bit both people, for whatever reason. Fault to the dogs owner legally.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 7:22PM
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I think the key point is a sentence in the original post..... "She is very cautious of him, keeping him away from people as needed, been through training, leashed, etc."

I don't think this dog was ever socialized and since your friend was always cautious with him there must have been a reason. Trainers always stress the importance of socialization with these breeds so that they become good family companions.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 8:00PM
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Just from your story I can tell what went wrong. Your friend was, in your words keeping the dog away from social interactions...she is mistaken in doing this.
If company was over, no matter what, the dog should have had the dog remained muzzled if she had some inkling the dog might be aggressive. Same while the dog is out in public...This is a typical case of a dog owner not understanding how to deal with a dog.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 8:14PM
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Sad story. I pity the dog but would be scared to own it. A dog that unpredictable would be too stressful. If a baby soon will be in the home, I really would be worried.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 2:43AM
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Dogs give some kind of warning before biting---many times people fail to see that warning.

Thats one problem that I have noticed with American Bulldogs, they don't give any warning before they bite.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 9:56AM
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Dogs don't always give warning - and some breeds are more known for no-warning aggression than others. It's a myth. Among lots of myths about dogs.

Whether or not the friend "flip-flopped" is not an issue here.

That woman needs to remove the dog from her household. If she doesn't have control over it, the baby will be in serious danger.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 3:42PM
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I disagree, I think all dogs do give warnings, or cut-off signals. They can be so minor that you don't even notice them, such as a tongue flick, a brief look away, etc. Unless you are totally focused on the dog, you may not see them, especially with a dog you are unfamiliar with.

This dog has obviously not learned to inhibit himself. He needs some serious training right now, with a good quality trainer familiar with his breed, not some dog class at a community center.

I would be very vary of this dog around a baby. :(

I would suggest your friend contact a breed rescue to see if they can help find him a home. Its hard to do with biters though. The best thing might be to humanely euthanize him, as much as I hate to say that.


    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 4:39PM
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Some dogs do not warn. Especially fighting breeds.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 4:50PM
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I agree whole heartedly with share oh. SIgns from dogs can be as subtle as a sideways glance, an upward movement of a tail, tightening of muscles, a lick of the lips - you bet, and once you notice these actions which are usually followed by an agressive move, you can immediately correct the dog, if my dog lowers his head while walking, Im going to put him in a sit stay position immediately, because I knkow he sees another dog and will want to prove himself the top dog.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 10:46PM
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"They now have a dangerous dog hearing for Aug. and the dog is under quarantine and wears a muzzle. They are getting a lawyer."

Sounds completely appropriate. Your friend can't control her dog. She has a dog that is unpredictable (and she knows this or wouldn't keep him segregated) and she walks him down the street unmuzzled? I hope for their sake their homeowner's insurance covers this (many insurances won't cover certain breeds).

"My friend has done everything to take precautions..."
Ah, no she hasn't.

Why did the guy flip flop? He may have felt uncomfortable confronting her at the time. Many people resort to instant polite and then later realize they were the one wronged. He may have discussed it with someone else (pretty much anyone with common sense) who made him realize there is something wrong with this dog. It doesn't really matter why he flip flopped. Your friend is responsible for her dog.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 9:10AM
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Mazer, have you ever been around an American Bulldog?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 9:52AM
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I never even heard of an American Bulldog until this year---when I did, I did some research-----seems even breeders cannot agree on basic conformation/desirable characteristics.

ALL animals signal intentions. That is something Nature instills at birth.

If---and the absence of signal would have to be proven to me----those dogs do not signal---I will totally against allowing them to be legal. That is the most stupid thing regarding breeding I have ever heard. Totally inane. Allows NO proper way of control---if a handler cannot tell what an animal is going to do----the handler cannot handle the animal. That makes the animal too dangerous for public contact.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 3:16PM
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Before I became acquainted with the breed, not by choice, I too would have been skeptical about its lack of warning system.

Taken from

As there are many types of bulldogs all over the world, you should always make it a point to study each type before you decide to get it. One of the most popular bulldogs is the American bulldog, which can be found in most areas of the United States. The American bulldog has a powerful built, medium-large size and with muscular strength. The American bulldog is well suited as a guard dog as it is very protective towards the family. It is also very tolerant towards children and has a rather even temperament. However, an American bulldog is not really very good as an alert dog as it has the tendency not to give any warnings when it is about to attack intruders.

Given its lack of warning system, the prevalence of fight/questionable breeders, and owners who don't socialize/control their dogs, this breed is becoming infamous for its problems.

Here is a link that might be useful: Official bull dog guide

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 3:49PM
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joepyeweed ~

You are absolutely correct. Here is an excerpt from the official site:

Choosing The Right Kind Of Dog For You

Different people have different tastes and temperaments. When it comes to choosing the right dog for you, you need to take a closer look into the personalities of different types of dogs and find out whether or not you and your dog are compatible. When it comes to the bulldog, although this dog would look tough and ferocious, itÂs actually very kind hearted. They are also very patient and tolerant when it comes to children that for many years, the bulldog is considered as one of the most suitable breeds for children. Bulldogs are known to let children play with them without complaining. They are not really known to complain when they get hurt so when children sometimes accidentally hurt the bulldog, this dog will not really get irritated easily.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a guard dog, the bulldog is one of the best. Their ferocious look and that aggressive attitude towards intruders will definitely scare off burglars. However, when it comes to being a warning dog, the bulldog is not really effective. The bulldog does not usually bark or give a person warning when it is about to attack.

Well, it does seem that not all dogs give obvious or subtle warning signs.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 4:34PM
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Despite what the breeders of ABs claim they are still dogs and they still show warnings before attacking. It is true that they do not bark, growl, or raise their lips. But they do shift their weight forward, widen their stance, tense their muscles, and lower their heads. I have a lot of experience with ABs as a vet tech, most of them were "guard dogs" but really they were just chained outside and expected to attack intruders, which I am sure they did. BTW, most spitz types do not bark or growl either, including huskies and most chow-chows.

ABs, and other bully breeds have rules about what is acceptable and what provokes attack. Each dog is different, but some common rules are: don't come in between the dog and the owner; don't enter the home without a family member with you; don't reach for the owner in any way, shape, or form, including handshakes; don't prevent the dog from protecting the owner (such as restraining for a physical exam at a vet office); do not attemot to remove the dog from the owner (it's OK to have owner hand over leash and command, then walk out of the exam room, or to follow you to the back and then leave). However, ABs DO respond to commands, and once removed from their job of protecting their owner, are easy to handle even by strangers. This is why they are generally good with children in the household, but can be unpredictable with other children.

Clearly this owner does not know what provokes her dog and therefore cannot train it to not attack. She needs to have family member re-enact the things that caused the dog to bite- coming in the door, reaching for the dog, etc. and give commands such as SIT, STAY, or LEAVE IT to prevent the dog from reacting. The dog will not attack a family member, but having the dog specifically trained NOT to attack will make it more likely to obey later. It would also help if the owner learned her dog's behavior. The dog is doing exactly what it was bred to do- be a loyal and protective companion. Once the owner understands her dog, she will be able to control it. Until then, it must be muzzled in the presence of non-family members. Basket muzzles work very well, and allow the dog to eat, drink, and pant but not bite.

Unfortunately, this has already gone on too long, and it is most likely that the dog will be killed.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 10:09AM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

I agree with most of the posts, but I have a problem with everyone wanting to pet my dogs or allowing their children to run up to them.

I always stop them by saying that the dogs might jump on them. I then pull up on the leash, and hold the dog. I also need to instruct people to pet the dog under the chin - not to come over the head.

Fortunately I have 2 golden retrievers, and biting is not a problem. I just wish other people were not so casual about my dogs. We seldom let ours out when we have company. They are behind a gate, and very good friends will cross the gate to pet them. (I put up a sign that says Blaze will jump.)

I go to this trouble for a happy jumping dog that wants to lick people. What in the world is going through the head of an owner whose dog bites?


    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 2:16PM
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Two years ago, my youngest son (he was 8 at the time) noticed the neighbor's American Bulldog in our back yard. We shared a fence with these neighbors and my kids often played with/talked to him through the fence.

My son ran to the back yard to call him and take him home. When he got closer to the dog, he yelled his name and jumped at him to catch him. The dog bit his hand.

I ran around the corner to knock on their door to make sure the dog was up to date on his shots because I was taking him to the ER. He was up to date and the owner felt really bad. He kept saying to let him know when we were back, he'd give me copies of all records, home owners info, etc.

While at the ER, my son asked if we could stop on the way home to get a big bone for the dog "so he can chew on that instead of my hand". He laughed while saying it.

The owners were sitting in front of my house when we returned, they had the dog in the back seat. The wife was crying and the husband gave me this huge stack of info, and who to contact for medical bills. He said they'd tried to take the dog to the pound, but were told he'd be put to sleep since he bit a child. They wanted him to go to a home with no kids, so they brought him back.

My son was very upset that they wanted to get rid of the dog, and wrote him a note, leaving it with the bone on the front porch. We found a present for my son on our porch later, with an apology from the dog.

I don't think this dog was "attacking" my son. He was in a strange yard (yes, I know, he shouldn't have been there) and this kid lunged at him wearing a big winter coat. I think he was defending himself.

I doubt this will help with the OP's questions, but not all dog bite incidents need to be taken to court.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 4:14PM
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A dog bites a person once --- HISTORY. Sorry, no trial or 3 strikes. Dogs are not permitted to bite people. Only idiots keep dogs who bite.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 4:20PM
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That's a very nice story Cindy Lou. Sounds like you, your son, and your neighbors are all good and reasonable people. I'm glad that worked out for you all!

Carmen - can we apply that to trolls? 1 strike and you're out? Tiresome really.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 8:33PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I appreciated that story too Cindy Lou. Very heartwarming and not all dog bites are the same.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 9:20PM
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Have your friend muzzle the dog whenever it is awake and have them contact a behaviorist. This will look good in court. Good luck to them

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 7:04PM
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this thread is VERY old - 2008 in fact

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 9:26PM
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I am the original poster and find it interesting that this has come to the surface. Since it has I will give you an update. My friend now has a 16 month old baby. I am going to make a very long story short and leave out a lot of details, but the neighbor has become ugly to not only her, but to other neighbors. He threatened them and they found poison meat in their back yard. Someone said they saw him back there but have no proof he threw it in the yard, so ....There are other things that happened also. She went to court and the neighbor cried and made up stories and told many lies. As they left court he made some comments to the effect about her dog being dead one way or another, and smiled.

She has a court order to have a dangerous dog sign on her door and as long as she is in the state he has to have a muzzle in public. He is used to it, and it is a great compromise.

The child rolls on the dog and pulls on him and the dog snuggles up to her and shows her off. They are still very cautious of him, but he has never had another incident and this person is the only person he has ever had an issue with.

This person continues to taunt them, along with other neighbors, dogs and kids. It's unfortunate and sad. He looks for trouble and gets it. He is a bully. He has caused problems for others. People fear him and he knows it and loves it. He is one who manipulates and for some reason it looks like it's not his fault when he gets caught. I will say no more, you may have the idea. At some point it will blow up, if it hasn't already, and he will get his comeuppance in a big way.

I am not saying it is right that the dog bit, I had a biter myself and had to deal with things, I am just saying that she is dealing with a sick individual here also who has made her and many others very very uncomfortable.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 6:07PM
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murraysmom Zone 6 OH

That is scary and sad. Thank you for updating us. I hope she is able to rid this person from her life.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 9:18PM
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The neighbour sounds like a jerk, but the fact is that she has a dog that bites strangers. It may be fine with her own child, but what happens when the kid is old enough to have friends over to play?!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 1:05AM
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